Sunday, December 15, 2013

THE SIXTH DAY - PART 6

THE HELPER

After Adam had finished the task of naming all of the animals in the Garden of Eden, he fell into a deep sleep. It had been a day full of activity and he was exhausted! However, as busy as this 6th day of creation (and Adam’s very first day) had been, it was yet far from over.
But the deep slumber into which Adam fell was more than just the natural sleep of a tired man. The narrative in Genesis 2 tells us that it was God that caused this sleep to come upon him. The Lord had something in mind for Adam. What he had in mind would be for Adam’s benefit and delight, but it would require a bit of a sacrifice on the man’s part. While Adam was in his deep sleep, God opened Adam’s side and removed one of his ribs. It was from this rib that Eve was made.
Eve was a special creation. Earlier in the second chapter of Genesis, we learned that all of the beasts of the field and all of the birds of the air were formed from the soil of the ground (2:19). Adam was also formed in the same way (2:7). Eve alone, however, was not formed from the soil. She was instead created in an entirely unique way, out of the material from Adam’s rib.

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
By Jan Brueghel the Elder

Another point of uniqueness in the creation of Eve is that when we learn of the creation of Adam and all the breathing creatures, the word that is used to describe the method that God used was that he formed them. I discussed this word at some length in Part 1.
However, this same word is not used in the creation of Eve. Instead, verse 22 of this chapter says that the Lord God made (banah) Eve out of Adam’s rib. This is a very common word in the Old Testament, and in all but just a few cases, it is used to describe a making or a building of something. For instance, it is the word used in the building of a home or the construction of an altar.
When Eve was created, she filled a need that had been previously unmet (please read the last post - Part 5). I do not mean to imply that Eve was in some way an afterthought, or that God had not previously planned on creating a female counterpart to Adam’s maleness. All of the animals and birds apparently already had a corresponding male and a female for each species. This seems to be true, since it was after the naming of the animals that the realization came upon Adam that he alone, among the living and the breathing creatures, did not have a mate.
Eve is called Adam’s “helper.” To us, this has a slightly demeaning connotation. In our thinking, a carpenter’s helper is someone who the carpenter has to bring him tools and to clean up after him. A bricklayer’s helper carries bricks all day.
But this is not the meaning in the Old Testament. The word in the Old Testament is ezer, and to get a feeling for the word, here are a few other references that include this same word:

“The God of my father was my help (ezer), and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.” (Exodus 18:4b NAS)

“Blessed are you, O Israel; who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, who is the shield of your help (ezer), and the sword of your majesty!” (Deuteronomy 33:29 NAS)

Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help (ezer) and our shield. (Psalm 33:20 NAS)

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help (ezer) come?
My help (ezer) comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (Ps 121:1-2 NAS)

How blessed is he whose help (ezer) is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God. (Psalm 146:5)

You can see that all of these scripture passages use the word ezer as referring to God. In point of fact, in most places where it is used in the Old Testament, it does refer to God. The word ezer is one that speaks of a rescuer or a deliverer.
We should not think of Eve as being given to Adam necessarily to merely always assist him. Rather, in many ways, Eve rescued Adam from what would have otherwise been a less than complete existence.
I will conclude this series next week.

No comments:

Post a Comment